Marina Rodriguez was supposed to have already had her moment on Fight Island.
Rodriguez (12-0-2) was originally booked to face Carla Esparza on July 15. Instead, after a corner tested positive for COVID-19, the bout was pushed back to UFC Fight Island 3 on July 25.
Luckily, Rodriguez herself did not contract the disease. And as she told Cageside Press at this week’s media day ahead of her fight, “my corner’s pretty well, he didn’t really have any symptoms.” Which is also good news. It’s also why Rodriguez never expected any hiccups ahead of Fight Island. “We were a bit surprised when he tested positive.”
The end result has been “a little bit of extra time, but luckily we were able to change the date of the fight, not cancel it.”
Now, she enters the fight with Esparza knowing that a statement win could be big. Especially given that, through four UFC bouts, she has two draws. Those have come against Randa Markos and Cynthia Calvillo.
“Not leaving it to the judges is going to be a goal in this fight,” Rodriguez told us. “I think I have the tools to finish the fight before [it goes to] the judges.”
There’s a good reason to stick to that goal. Were it not for those draws, Rodriguez might already be in the title conversation.
“I won most of those two fights. In my mind, I consider them wins,” she would go on to add. But she also understands the reality of things. “For sure, at the end of the day, the W is what counts for my promotion inside the organization.”
Still, Rodriguez is happy with her effort inside the cage. “That’s the thing that is going to make sure that I’m able to continue moving up, climb the ranks, and eventually get the title shot.”
Marina Rodriguez meets Carla Esparza as part of UFC Fight Island 3 (UFC on ESPN 14) this Saturday, July 25. The card airs live on ESPN (TSN in Canada).